My stepdaughter turned 17 last week, and I couldn’t believe the way she spent her birthday.
Or maybe I should say the way she DIDN’T spend her birthday.
She did not rush to the DMV to get her driver’s license.
A study from the University of Michigan shows that in 1983, 69 percent of all 17-year-olds had driver’s licenses. By 2008, only half of 17-year-olds did.
That was a study I found hard to believe until I saw what happened in my own house.
When I turned 17 back in the 1970s, that was what everyone did on their birthdays: took the road test. The question the next day wasn’t, “How did you celebrate your birthday?” but, “Did you pass?” If you did, happy birthday to you. If you didn’t, not so much.
Pundits have speculated on why 17-year-olds aren’t so keen on getting their license a.s.a.p. anymore. Some say the recession has made it more difficult for teens to afford their own cars, their insurance and even their gas. Others say that with the advent of smart phones and social networking, there’s less need to get in a car to connect with their buddies.
That wasn’t the reason in my home.
My stepdaughter needed to fit driver’s ed into her class schedule, as all teens must if they want their license at 17. But she also wanted to take Advanced Placement Human Geography. Both classes wouldn't fit. In the toss-up between getting her license and hoping to get into a better college, the extra AP class won out.